10:25 p.m. CST, November 29, 2013
DALLAS — By coincidence, the Stanley Cup was in Dallas at the same time as the team trying to defend it.
For much of Friday night’s game against the Stars, the Blackhawks didn’t look much like the team that stormed to the 2013 Cup but as has been their modus operandi this season, they didn’t let a deficit deter them as they rallied for a 2-1 victory in a shootout. Whether it was fatigue as a result of playing their sixth of a seven-game road trip or merely an off night, the Hawks couldn’t get it together against Dallas until Patrick Sharp scored early in the third to set up the game-winner by Ben Smith in the 11th round of the shootout.
It was the fifth consecutive triumph for the Hawks, who improved to 5-1-0 on the trip and 19-4-4 overall.
Corey Crawford came out on top of a goaltender duel with Kari Lehtonen, yielding only a first-period score by Rich Peverley and stopping a penalty shot in the second by Alex Chiasson.
The Hawks’ Patrick Kane had his career-high points streak snapped at 12 games as the winger was stifled by Lehtonen and the Stars defense.
Crawford was solid but it was his mishandling of the puck during the first period that put the Hawks behind. The netminder attempted to corral it behind his goal when it was stolen by Shawn Horcoff, who then found Peverley in the slot and the center buried it.
The second period was scoreless, though the Stars’ Alex Chiasson had a chance to extend the league after being awarded a penalty shot. The winger raced in on Crawford and beat the goalie but the puck rang off the left post. The period was marred by a serious leg injury to Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. The veteran suffered a leg fracture and was taken to a local hospital.
Early in the third, the Hawks took advantage of a Stars turnover and Sharp made them pay when the winger redirected a long shot by Duncan Keith.
Perhaps the Hawks were due for a difficult time after roaring through Canada with four wins in seven nights. Coach Joel Quenneville said a journey as lengthy as the one the Hawks have embarked on can at some point feel like it’s dragging.
“You’re gone for 14 days, you’re going to have some moments where you could feel like that,” Quenneville said. “(But) the guys have been great. We had the one practice (Tuesday) in between game days and it was a very short practice. We have our morning skates and I think the guys feel like, ‘let’s play.’ It’s not like we’re on the ice a lot so hopefully there’s an appetite to play. These guys want to be successful and win. That all comes internally from the leadership all through the lineup. We all have a certain standard of how we want to compete and have success. They push one another in the right way.”